I am a Shallow Bowl

 I was praying in tongues this morning my routine list mingled with supplications to be an overcomer not giving into desires of the flesh.  I kept hearing in the coursing forth of the words in tongues "Keturah".  I recalled this was the name of Abraham's  wife so I decided to look it up.   

The name Keturah  means incense.

Let me digress here for a moment to say that I personally believe that when it comes to speaking in tongues there are times when one is speaking a purely heavenly language, a tongue of angels, not to be interpreted or translated as any language on earth, but something God gives by His Spirit, and only His Holy Spirit can interpret it.  1 Corinthians speaks of tongues of men AND angels, so we know angels have their own language, and the Apostle Paul knew it was possible to speak in either language.  1 Corinthians 1:13

I also believe that there are times when one speaks in tongues an earth language not of one's own understanding, but something that might be literally understood by a hearer who knows the language the person is speaking by inspiration.  This is what happened on the day of Pentecost as a sign to the unbelieving hearers.  See Acts2:1-11  

Several years ago, I learned that when I speak in tongues, I sometimes go into a Biblical language, and it is no doubt the Hebrew language.  I found this out when a brother in the Lord who is fluent in Hebrew heard me praying  in tongues, and was able to tell me what I saying.   Now, I don't know that this is so everytime, and there are times when the gift of "divers tongues" comes upon me, and my tongue changes completely, and I've come to understand that this gift is most often beneficial when waging warfare in the heavenlies. 

This morning, it came to my memory how this brother was able to interpret or even translate a tongue because of his natural understanding of the language, and so realizing I was hearing "Keturah", I decided to look it up.  I felt it was an odd word to be looking up, but when I saw it meant "incense", immediately the Spirit began to quicken to me things from the Word regarding "incense".  

First of all, I wept much because I realized the Lord was telling me He was receiving my prayers as incense lifted  up to His throne.  Talk about being "wrecked and ruined" in His presence...!!!

In the Old Testament, we find two items (among others) within the confines of the tabernacle.  In the outer court was the brazen altar, or the altar which had placed upon it offerings for a burnt sacrifice.  And then just beyond it, in the inner court or the "holy place"  was the altar of incense. 

If we were living in Biblical times and were among those who visited the tabernacle in consecration and service to the Lord, we might greatly appreciate that there was a priest burning incense in the inner court while another priest was receiving and burning the animals  appointed to be the "burnt sacrifice".  Not every animal burning may have smelled quite as delicious as a roast beef.  

In order for the incense to be burning, coals needed to be taken off the brazen altar, and brought into the holy place to the altar of incense.  The coals from the brazen altar are what kept the fires going at the altar of incense.  (Leviticus 16:11-13)  And the altar of incense was to be kept burning continually, day and night.  (God knows how much happens in the heart in the midnight hours, and the wee hours of the morning when we are still, and He can best deal with us about our consecration and our sanctification....away from all the clamor and commitment and busyness of our day.) 

I have a routine prayer list.  I pray for Israel.  I pray for America.  I pray for the work of the ministry.  I pray for my relatives, and friends as the Lord quickens me.  I pray for a closer walk with the Lord.   I apply scriptures to my prayers.  But there is no fire, there is no "incense" until the Lord hears out of my heart those prayers of willingness to crucify the flesh, get that animal nature onto the brazen altar where the fires of God start burning, burning, burning until it is all consumed.  

 But God doesn't just leave me by myself to be consumed into that "burnt sacrifice" state.  He takes the coals of conviction of the Holy Spirit  stoking this fiery inferno of the dealings of the Lord, of the desire for consecration and full submission unto His ways and His will until there is none of me, and ALL of Him and by the golden censor, (a shallow bowl) He takes those coals and puts them on the altar of incense.

   In our wretched "flesh state", we are that "shallow bowl".  Golden because we are purified by the blood of Jesus.  Yet still shallow because we are in such great need of HIS increase in our lives.  But, it's enough to realize that as far as we have come in that process of being wholly upon the altar, when we set our hearts and minds in this direction, it's what initiates that sweet smell coming up to God from the altar of incense, and these are the prayers that are received up into heaven.

We need to diligently pray all our "prayer lists" because it's prayer that moves the hand of God to intervene in the affairs of men and situations and circumstances upon the earth. 

But, beloved, the prayers you pray while you're at your "altar of incense", are the prayers that have eternal weight in them for the ages to come as Jesus is being revealed to us and in us!    

Simply understanding the powerful implications of the ingredients of this holy incense, never to be duplicated by man,  should cause us all to realize the profound value God puts upon it when we submit our lives wholly unto the Lord.
We would need to do a study on those ingredients which were of sweet spices, and if you want to take it upon yourself, start by reading Exodus 30:34-38, and Exodus 37:29 for your foundational scriptures.  

 In studying the tabernacle, it's always important to remember that everything represents and is a type of  Christ and His Church and His everlasting Gospel.  However, as joint heirs with Christ, and as the members of His Body, and as He is the firstborn among many brethren, the captain of our salvation made perfect through sufferings, we will always perceive that which He initiated and perfectly fulfilled in His life worked out in our lives as we follow Him. 
In the brazen altar, we are partaking in the fellowship of His sufferings.  Jesus was willing to give His all.  When those coals are moved to the burning altar of incense, rising up to the throne of God, we are experiencing the joy of the very intimate message of knowing that only through suffering and sacrifice will we ever fully experience the power of His resurrection. 

We read about Paul's "brazen altar" experience in Phillipians 3: 3-11.  The crowning glory of this passage of scripture must be verse 8, where he declares that he counts ALL things in his life...even the GOOD things as loss when compared to the excellency of the knowledge of "Christ Jesus , my Lord".  Can you imagine the fragrance of sweet incense that must have wafted up to the throne of God at the declaration of those words from the lips of God's servant, the Apostle Paul?

A willingness to meet God at the brazen altar so you can have some coals to put in your "golden censor" to bring to the altar of incense is all the difference between staid, rote, recited prayers, and prayers that are quickened by the Holy Spirit and emanate a holy fragrance into the atmosphere.  

And have you ever met anyone truly consecrated unto the Lord who did not have a genuinely sweet spirit about them?  That sweet incense is permeating their garments already washed white in the blood of the Lamb!!!

 Oh, the glorious lifting into His presence we feel when the heavenly incense is present in our prayer time!!!

Then God’s fire upon the altar
Of my heart was set aflame;
I shall never cease to praise Him
Glory, glory to His Name!

From the hymn, I Will Praise Him, by Margaret J. Harris, 1898

Always in the Love of Jesus,

Clo DiPilato